QPR ease past Bristol Rovers

QPR beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 at Loftus Road to secure a place in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Bright Osayi-Samuel put the Sky Bet Championship side ahead after just four minutes, Pawel Wszolek doubled the lead 14 minutes later and Matt Smith’s second-half header from Osman Kakay’s right-wing cross sealed their victory.

Kakay’s late own goal did not affect the result and in a further boost for Rangers, key defender Grant Hall returned to action having missed most of last season and been sidelined since December with a knee injury.

Osayi-Samuel was excellent throughout and gave Steve McClaren’s team an early lead.

Conor Washington led a Rangers counter-attack and played the ball left to Osayi-Samuel, who beat his man with a clever step-over and fired into the far corner of the net from near the edge of the penalty area.

Rovers keeper Adam Smith was unable to keep out Wszolek’s low strike from 20 yards but did prevent a third Rangers goal before the interval by saving Washington’s shot and Smith’s follow-up.

Smith inadvertently also prevented a third when Washington’s goalbound shot struck his strike partner, who was standing a couple of yards from the line.

Rovers did threaten at times and will look back on several missed chances.

QPR keeper Matt Ingram kept out a shot from Sam Matthews and two right-footed efforts from Kyle Bennett in the first half.

In the second, Bennett, Michael Kelly and Alex Rodman all missed fine opportunities for Rovers before the third QPR goal.

Bennett scuffed a shot wide after Hall had given the ball away, Kelly failed to hit the target following another defensive mix-up, this time after a slip-up by Kakay, and Rodman headed Tom Lockyer’s cross over the bar from close range.

Rovers scoring during that spell of pressure would have turned up the heat on QPR, but Smith’s 64th-minute goal meant the hosts were comfortable in the final stages even though another defensive mishap led to them conceding with three minutes remaining.

Alex Baptiste failed to cut out Tom Nicholls’ cross from the right and Upson’s shot hit Kakay and rebounded into the net.

Hall, seen by McClaren as a potentially pivotal player if he can regain his fitness, was taken off on 65 minutes and replaced by youngster Charlie Owens, who came on for his senior debut.

There was a first-team bow too for teenage midfielder Faysal Bettache, who replaced Osayi-Samuel when the winger was taken off to a standing ovation late on.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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